Los Angeles Chicago Connection

Last year, we wrote about the increasing connection between Miami and Chicago via bar and restaurant openings. This year, it looks like Chicago is sharing a special synergy with Los Angeles. The two cities have been playing a lot of back-and-forth lately in terms of concepts opening new locations in respective cities, as well as mixologists and chefs uprooting to switch time zones. Let’s take a look at this new Chicago-Los Angeles connection, shall we? 


Broken Shaker
Broken Shaker Chicago; photo by Adrian Gaut


While one of last year’s Miami connections was via Broken Shaker, this year it’s something that ties us to Los Angeles as well. The Miami-based cocktail bar opened its second outpost in River North last year, introducing an exciting new wave of culinary-inspired cocktails to the city. Now the bar is in expansion mode yet again as it polishes up its third spin-off in the City of Angels later this year. 


Speaking of cocktails and L.A., one of the city’s finest and most renowned mixologists, Julian Cox, made the move to Chicago recently to head up the beverage programs for Lettuce Entertain You. We wrote about him a bit here, but he just debuted his new cocktail menu at Three Dots and a Dash, which is definitely worth checking out, and we’re excited to see what he does next. 


In other moving news, our loss is L.A.’s gain as former Next chef Dave Beran just left the acclaimed restaurant with plans to move across the country and open his own restaurant in California. And when Jessica Largey wraps her chef residency at Intro here, she announced plans to move to L.A. to open her own restaurant as well, Simone. On the contrary, C.J. Jacobson has remained in town since moving here from L.A. for his own chef residency at Intro, and now he’s planning a Mediterranean restaurant in River North. 




Over the past few years, L.A.-based restaurants that have opened outposts here include JINYA Ramen Bar and of course Sprinkles, that cupcake empire with a cult following. They originated in L.A. and their Gold Coast location still routinely draws lined out the door. Coming up, some of the biggest openings on the horizon in Chicago are coming from L.A.’s IDG restaurant group, which plans local outposts of hot spots like Katana, BOA Steakhouse, and Sushi Roku. Meanwhile, Chicago’s Bow Truss coffee has expanded to L.A. with a cafe in Beverly Hills. 

— Matt Kirouac